Box Office Systems

For many audience members, the box office experience might be the only interaction they have with your company. You want to make sure your box office is set up in a welcoming and efficient manner. Consider the community you are trying to reach and what way of purchasing tickets makes the most sense for them.

Know your inventory

This is the number of tickets you have available to sell. Remember to hold back any comp tickets and media seats.

If you have tickets at different price points, allocate according to your budget goals (for example, in your revenues you might have a goal of selling 25% of your tickets at an Arts Worker rate, and 75% at the Regular rate) and adjust your inventory along the way as necessary.

Also take into consideration if there are group or reduced rates for the accessible performances (ASL performances, Audio Described, etc.).

Online Sales

As with most anything, people now often purchase their tickets to performances and events online in advance. There are many ticketing services available to independent producers that can handle your advance box office needs. Some of them can also integrate easily into your door sales. They usually charge a nominal fee that you can absorb into the ticket price or it can be passed on to your attendee, applied on top of the ticket price.

Plan time to set-up and do a dry-run of your ticketing system before your ticket sales go live so you can troubleshoot any issues.

Compare Service Providers

Online Ticket Sales    
Service ProviderCosts/TicketOnline NotesDoor NotesReportingGetting PaidOtherDate updated
Theatre Wire
$2 for tickets $15 and up.
$1.50 for tickets $15 and below or small festivals
They set-up; Coupon codesiPad provided for inventory and credit card process; Check-in on paperMax 2x/week; plus daily for each show, Will Call must be printed offCheque within 2 weeks with full sales report
Vancouver based project of the Fringe; Provide you with float and iPad for credit card sales and inventory
February 17 2021
Square Online2.9% + 30¢ (swiped)Self set-up; Coupon codes;Credit card; Inventory tracking; Check-in on paperAs neededImmediate depositSmart phone (IOS and Android) or tablet required to process paymentMay 29 2024
Zeffy (previously know as SimplyK)No transaction feesSelf set-upElectronic scannable tickets available;As neededDeposited to your
Stripe account within 7 days
New Montreal-based company, very responsive to questions and customization requests, specifically for non-profitsFebruary 17 2021
Organizers Pay
*Publish events with up to 25 tickets for free
*Sell more tickets with plans starting at $12.99 CAD
*Subscribe and save on frequent events

Attendees pay:
*No fees for free events
*3.5% + $1.29 CAD service fee per ticket
*2.9% payment processing fee per order
*Ticketing Fees are paid by ticket buyers unless you choose to cover them
 Self set-up; Coupon codes;Credit card; Inventory tracking; Check-in integratedAs neededDirect deposit requiredYou can choose pass along the fees to your customer or absorb the fees in the ticket costFebruary 17 2021

Also check out:

Showpass (Calgary)
Tickets Tonight (Vancouver)
What's On TOnight (Toronto)
Creative Users

Door Sales

Be clear in your marketing if tickets will be available at the door on the performance date(s). If you are selling tickets at the door, you will need a Box Office Attendant. That person will require:

  • a cash float
  • a box office sales tracking sheet or access to the online ticket system


In-Person Sales

Having physical tickets to sell is still a great way to get an audience because it requires reaching out into the community. You can have a local business sell tickets for you for a percentage of each ticket sold. You can set up a booth at local events like farmers' markets and community fairs. You can also allot tickets to members of your team for selling. This method requires advance coordination with third parties and regular maintenance to ensure your inventory numbers are up to date.

Other considerations to make

If this is an accessible performance, i.e. ASL, audio description, or other accommodations, are being offered, ensure the directions clear, once a ticket is purchased, on how to reserve and pick up a receiver? Do you have signage at your box office that indicates accessibility information, ie. if the venue is accessible, if the box office representatives speak ASL or any other languages that are suitable for the performance? Are washroom signs clear?



Created by admin. Last Modification: Thursday May 30, 2024 14:13:57 EDT by mmackenzie.